The foundation of the house cracked slowly over the decades. The Craven brothers with some of the team had made some progress on the living room that day, despite being banged up and hungover. We polished off a bottle of whiskey and about a case of beer during the process. It helped with any pain we had from our minor injuries sustained in the car wreck. I didn’t bring up the Navy again, instead we discussed the whereabouts of continuing the party later that evening. We agreed it was better to stay local. We made plans to meet at the bar up in Whitestone village proper. I was going to go home to clean up and shower, check on my pops, and maybe sleep off the buzz I already had. An attempt to try to wrangle a fresh start or to clear my clouded head, both of which were impossibilities.
Ozzy and Viggo said they were going to stay and keep drinking, maybe tape the sheetrock we had thrown up. Odds were Ozzy would not get any more work done in the living room. We drank enough to kill others. Our bodies were young and conditioned to the beatings. We relished the glug glug sound as the beer and whiskey flowed from its bottles into a glass or straight down our gullets, it made no difference to us. We were carrying the dangerous torch of alcoholism. Maybe we were the last generation to care about tradition, maybe we were dwelling on things that were right in front of us but we couldn’t see it and that was the way in which we coped.
Blair parked her car, having to make numerous attempts and redirections. Martin went upstairs with her but reassured us that he was coming to the bar later on. I said my goodbyes, which I normally tended to skip, when Viggo decided to leave also, he might have had a piece of ass lined up, some secret rendezvous. In a few hours we would all be back together.
I walked away, crossed the street when Ozzy called after me, asking me to wait up. “Hey, Colm. I’ll walk with you up the block. It’s too nice of a day to not go for a walk. Here.” Ozzy handed me a cold beer.
“What are we going to do about Martin, man?”
“I don’t know. Some people can’t be helped. My brother’s intentions are just. I think he believes that he truly loves her. There’s no getting through. We’ve all spoken to him. Countless times. He’s a fool.”
“Can you be a good man and a fool?”
“I used to think they were exclusive but now I’m thinking you can be both. Maybe being a good man and a fool is one in the same,” Ozzy said.
“You might be right. Do you think Martin has any idea about the abortion? I really hope it wasn’t his.”
“You know,” Ozzy said. “I don’t know for certain if he knows. There is a part of me that feels like he knows about everything and just accepts it. It makes him look so bad. You can look bad for loving someone, isn’t that something? It’s irrelevant if it’s his or not at this point. I think she is a pig. But what I think won’t change anything in his mind about her.”
“This kind of shit happens all the time but it’s definitely not a healthy situation for anyone to be in,” I said, taking a big drink of my beer. The bottle was sweating and the label was sliding so I peeled it off.
“The gods said chill.”
“That’s your wiz fault, God, handle that in the lab. Yeah, you know the only thing you can be certain of your feelings and even those can change too. You hope that someone loves you and that they have your best interest in mind. That’s not always the case. You never really know what people are thinking or what they’re going to do. You can’t be sure of anything.”
As the words escaped my mouth a sparkling blue BMW M3 drove slowly passed us, as if it were a roll up, which was not a peculiar occurrence at that time. It looked like a brand new car but I never paid much attention to shit like that. I preferred Mr. Craven’s old pickup over this particular car or most of the newer cars that made people around these parts feel special about themselves, or elevated their social status. When I recognized who was driving that BMW I immediately got disgusted. It was Jonah Parmento, an asshole from the neighborhood, but everyone called him Parm, as in chicken parmigiano. His punchable face was enough for you to hate his guts. I knew Ozzy hated that chicken shit as much as I did.
We had known Parm since elementary school and we didn’t like him then. Parm was a pathological liar, with an inflated sense of self and ego. But we all know people like that, don’t we? It is incredibly common in this day and age for people to act that way. Entitled people who believe everything is because of them, and their ideas, and their presence. Those self centered people who think they are single handedly responsible for the earth’s gravitational pull and the sun, the moon and the stars. The narcissists who presuppose everything in the world revolves around them, and all of it is theirs. We should all be grateful for them. They did that. They did everything. Where would we be without them? I couldn’t stomach people like Parm. It was almost enough to ruin one of my favorite dishes. I hated the word, parm, because of him.
“I wish my Dad bought me an identity,” said Ozzy.
The car abruptly stopped ahead of us, then reversed to where we were walking. We were close to my house but that didn’t make a difference, we were magnets for trouble. The driver side window was tinted but you could still see Parm. “What’s up, Ozzy? You got a problem. I thought I saw you say something?” There was a girl in the car with Parm. She was good looking. She was the reason he stopped and talked shit in the first place. This was him trying to make an impression on her. So she could see how tough he was. Parm never did anything for himself. Everything he did was based on who was watching. Ozzy would have dismantled Parm piece by piece.
“Yeah, I got a fucking problem. Pull your pops car over and let’s sort it, shoot the five.” Parm was never getting out of the car. That was completely out of the question. There was no one in the car to fight for him, and the chick in shotgun would have been a better opponent. Parm was the type who felt safe to say anything he wanted no matter how arrogant. He was of the mindset that no one would actually hit him. His father’s money would save him. His punk friends would rescue him and fight his battles for him. Why anyone would defend this asshole was beyond me. Parm was always a piece of shit, even when we were little kids he was always filth, polished filth. He’d hang with you today and bad mouth you tomorrow. A prototypical two-faced cunt. There were too many people like this in the neighborhood, in the world really. Indecent and disloyal.
“You got a problem with me? You don’t want it,” he said, revving his engine.
“I think we already established that I do. I do want it.”
“You were pretty clear about it,” I said to Ozzy.
“Fuck you, Colm.”
“I’m here. What?”
Ozzy launched his beer bottle at the car, it went right through the open window, exploding on the dashboard, splashing beer and showering shards of glass all over them, and the inside of the car.
“You’re fucking done, Ozzy,” Parm yelled as he wiped beer out of his eyes and peeled out. “You fuck.”
“You’re done, bro.” I said, laughing. That might lead to something in the future but we were content with that possibility.
“I heard,” said Ozzy, smiling.
“That throw was perfect.”
“I was just aiming for the car.”
“I can’t believe you got it right in the fucking window. That’s amazing. I’m so pleased.”
“One for the books. Can you believe the audacity of some people. This fucking idiot. Parm. Ugh, what’s wrong with everyone? He sells drugs because he thinks it makes him cool. He does a cycle and thinks he’s tough. He has no personality whatsoever and the fact that he has a chick that looks like that riding around with him. Mind boggling. Fucking cornball. His dad bought him that car. Nothing is his.”
“I mean it’s fine if he hustles because he loves the hustle but that’s not it. The kid is not ambitious. He just skates through life.”
Parm sold light bags of weed and coke out of an apartment his father paid for. His beeper was on their family plan. Parm bragged about the weight he was moving meanwhile he really just sold to his friends and gave away shit to broads he was trying to fuck. He got beeped from an unfamiliar number. He nervously called back and the guy on the other end of the call is at a payphone near Jamaica. He said he’s a friend of a friend and needs an ounce quick. Parm gives his address and two hours later, he unknowingly invites in three armed ski masked men who proceed to clean him out. There was no struggle but some weeping. A low life chick from the neighborhood was with him when he got robbed. He couldn’t call the police though he wanted to, and he was scared they would come back if word got out, but there was nothing he could do. He couldn’t even remember the name the man gave. Parm was scared to stay in the apartment after that. He’d never seen a gun before. All the drugs that were stolen were fronted so he went to his father for the money to pay his connect because he would fuck him up if they didn’t get their money. The connect was responsible for setting Parm up, doubling his money with ease.
People watch too many movies, I said.
“Frank White. And chicks fuck with this dude. That girl was bad.”
I said she was alright.
“Come on, man. She was pretty. Don’t front.”
“She was alright. And I don’t want anything to do with any materialistic cunts that would consort with someone like Parm. Fuck that chick.”
“We’re the ones that almost get killed but a dude like that can’t wrap his birthday present around a tree. What the fuck is that about? Complete bullshit.” said Ozzy. Last night was a close one. How many pieces of shit like Parm get to walk and breathe the air, while decent people die all the time? Peter Cushing is always closer than we’d like to believe. Anything could happen at any given time. But a horrid man like Parm will live forever. It made no fucking sense to me.
“Truth,” I said.
“I love you, Colm.” Ozzy gave me a hug.
“Great fucking throw, pal.”